Strategic RTnD Program on Information Infrastructure Security and Dependability


CALL: 2014

DOMAIN: IS - Information and Communication Technologies


LAST NAME: Esteves-Veríssimo



HOST INSTITUTION: University of Luxembourg

KEYWORDS: Security; Dependability; Critical Information Infrastructures; Resilience; Privacy; Extreme Computing

START: 2015-01-01

END: 2019-12-31


Submitted Abstract

ICT (Information and Communication Technology) became so important in our lives that a great deal of society’s stakes is today placed on the cyber sphere. The pillars of this new environment are critical information infrastructures (CII). The University of Luxembourg, through SnT, proposes a strategic RT&D (research, training and development) programme on information infrastructure security and dependability, seeking the creation of critical mass and know-how in the protection of critical information infrastructures (CII). We plan to address: the insufficient resilience of CIIs; the risks to information handled by corresponding services; and the new risks of computer-borne physical damage, arising from the interconnection of the Internet-Cloud complex with Cyber-Physical Systems, like power grids. The value of the assets controlled by CIIs is formidable and, in consequence, liable to attract very sophisticated targeted attacks, be it from organised crime and cyber-terrorism, cyber-hacktivism, or nation-state armies or agencies, which need powerful defences in turn. In response to this challenge, we intend to investigate and develop paradigms and techniques that consider both security and dependability in an automatic way, endowing systems with the capacity of defeating extreme failures or adversary power and sustaining perpetual and unattended operation. In other words, we seek to counter advanced persistent threats against valuable targets: stealing information for commercial, industrial or political espionage; violating the privacy of individuals; disrupting the operation of critical resources, or even their integrity. These objectives constitute key differentiating factors of this programme, which can be characterized by scientific and technical approaches to research aiming at achieving resilience of systems with very large-scale and/or in difficult or extreme situations (of threat, environmental, operational, uncertainty, and so forth), in the line of what may be called extreme computing. To achieve these objectives, we propose to develop research capacity and activity along four scientific focal points: resilience of cyber-physical system infrastructures and control; internet and cloud infrastructures resilience; security and dependability of embedded components; data privacy and integrity in highly sensitive sectors.The program seeks to promote excellent research in the area and contribute to augment the academic visibility and prestige of the University of Luxembourg (UL). The research themes chosen also meet other relevant criteria: – Currentness and societal importance, shown by the alignment with the R&D agenda of main sponsors, like the EU (Horizon 2020: ICT, Telecom and Cloud; Health and Biomedicine; Secure and Dependable Societies and Energy) and stakeholders, such as CII operators. -Complementarity and/or synergy with other RT&D efforts at UL, namely the CSC (Computer Science and Communications) research unit’s faculty and SnT, as well as opportunities for interdisciplinary research with LCSB (Luxembourg Centre for Systems Biomedicine), under the denominator of e-biobanking.- High potential for industrial impact as well, given the current and future importance of critical information infrastructure security and dependability. Relevant to European industry at large, it is especially relevant to Luxembourg, a country whose GDP is largely incorporated by ICT-dependent services, and ICT related industries. The industrial partnership programmes with SnT, seem a natural way to nurture those relations. The impact of the initiative on the University of Luxembourg is expected to be long-lasting and easily surviving the initial project providing its framework. In time, the goal is turning the University of Luxembourg into one of the international poles of research on Information Infrastructure Security and Dependability, known for its expertise on Resilience and Extreme Computing.

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